@NCCapitol

NC to build state-federal online insurance market

Posted November 15, 2012

— North Carolina and the federal government will jointly run a new one-stop shop to help people buy affordable health insurance, Gov. Beverly Perdue said Thursday.

Perdue, a Democrat, said she consulted with Republican Gov.-elect Pat McCrory and chose a state-federal partnership to operate the health insurance exchange required by the Affordable Care Act. North Carolina lawmakers failed to establish the framework for a state-run insurance exchange in time for the initial launching late next year, Perdue said, and the only other option was for the federal government to fully run it.

"There would be nothing worse for North Carolina than to have a federal exchange," she said in a news conference. "I don't see the federal government being in total control."

After President Barack Obama was re-elected last week, North Carolina was among dozens of states scrambling to produce a blueprint for a statewide marketplace of private health plans for individuals and small businesses having difficulty finding affordable coverage.

"Finally we've realized it is the law of the land given the federal election results," Perdue said. "There now will be concentrated energy on implementing sections of the act. We'll continue to have questions and concerns I'm sure."

Republican governors in Virginia and Alabama have indicated they'll allow the federal government to set up the market in their states rather than take a role in the next phase of the federal health care overhaul. Other states, such as Mississippi, have moved forward with plans to establish their own exchanges.

The state Department of Insurance has applied for $74 million in federal grant funds to help offset the costs of setting up the exchange, said Al Delia, secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services. If the state had set up its own exchange, it would have cost more than $40 million, he said.

Perdue makes health care reform moves for NC Perdue makes health care reform moves for NC

North Carolina lawmakers started work in 2011 on creating an exchange – the state House even passed legislation – but progress stalled as Republican leaders waited to see if the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the federal law. The high court cleared the law in June, days before lawmakers wrapped up their two-year session. Legislators did, however, express their intent to establish an exchange.

The hybrid system can be changed later to all-state or all-federal management.
 
"This decision allows him (McCrory) the opportunity to then, in his own good time, make a decision that will be permanent for the state," Perdue said. "So, in six or eight months or 30 days, if they decide they want a state option, they can work with the General Assembly to make that happen sooner than later."

McCrory issued a statement Thursday, saying Perdue's move gives the state needed flexibility and noting that he's still learning about health exchanges.

Republican legislative leaders and conservative groups blasted the governor, however, for taking the decision out of McCrory's hands.

"It is not necessary or appropriate for Gov. Perdue to prematurely declare her intent to establish a state-federal partnership exchange," Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said in a statement, noting that federal officials pushed the deadline for states to choose how to handle health exchanges back to Feb. 15, 2013.

Physician generic, health checkup GOP blasts Perdue's move to put together health insurance exchange

"The voters elected a new legislature and governor last week, and policy decisions of this magnitude should be left to them," said Berger, R-Rockingham.

House Speaker Thom Tillis was more neutral on the issue, saying only that he looks forward to working with McCrory and other Republican officials to make the best decision for the state.

Americans for Prosperity said in a statement that North Carolina should refuse to set up an exchange, as other states have done.

"Gov. Perdue should not be making large-scale policy changes that she knows the legislature does not support while she is on her way out the door,” Dallas Woodhouse, state director for the conservative organization, said in a statement.

One goal of the Obama administration's health care overhaul is reducing the number of state residents under age 65 who were without health insurance in 2010. That number stood at 1.6 million, according to the latest estimate by the North Carolina Institute of Medicine.

The law also provides federal funds to cover most of the early costs of expanding Medicaid to cover more uninsured families. McCrory and the GOP-controlled legislature will have to decide whether to proceed and whether the state can afford its future share of the costs, Delia said.

34 Comments

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  • oleguy Nov 16, 7:16 p.m.

    When we can no longer borrow the money, and it will happen,, the 47 per cent will be real hungry, and cold and homeless,,,

  • rroadrunner99 Nov 16, 5:48 p.m.

    "Americans for Prosperity said in a statement that North Carolina should refuse to set up an exchange, as other states have done"
    This would probably benefit the poor in NC the most as it would eliminate the good 'ol boy politic's from it.Because the Fed's would then come in and set it up for them.

  • lb27608 Nov 16, 1:18 p.m.

    "Preventative care, prevents NOTHING." - whatelseisnew

    Another patently false and ignorant statement.

    Preventative care is not about discovering conditions that already exist so that additional care is needed. Instead, it's about people receiving ongoing medical evaluations to stop the development of chronic conditions that would require high-cost care in the future. For example: I learned several years ago that I am pre-disposed to heart disease because of my cholesterol. With ongoing preventative care, my doctor and I are working to minimize my chances of actually developing cardiovascular disease.

  • whatelseisnew Nov 16, 12:44 p.m.

    What a shame. This is completely unnecessary and simply adds costs. It would have been much more simple to just allow people to be able to purchase insurance from any provider within the 50 States. That is possible to do now with the presence of the Internet. These exchanges are not necessary and they actually limit choices.

    "Only some of them. My boss provides health insurance and he does just fine. This is probably good though as it will thin the heard and leave the market open to successful business people. "

    Also remember we have to pay much more in taxes when the uninsured end up in emergency rooms than had they had access to preventitive care."

    Yeah you keep on believing that myth. Preventative care, prevents NOTHING. At best it might uncover a condition that is treatable through ADDITIONAL medical activity. The emergency rooms will not see less business, in fact they will likely see more business than ever.

  • RaleighHunts Nov 16, 12:06 p.m.

    while I understand this idea in theory, I highly doubt in practice it will play out that way once the government is running the show... they will find a way to make it so inefficient and bloated as to be just as expensive, sadly.

    "Also remember we have to pay much more in taxes when the uninsured end up in emergency rooms than had they had access to preventitive care."

  • Nov 16, 11:04 a.m.

    "Small businesses will not expand beyond 49 employees"

    Only some of them. My boss provides health insurance and he does just fine. This is probably good though as it will thin the heard and leave the market open to successful business people.

    Also remember we have to pay much more in taxes when the uninsured end up in emergency rooms than had they had access to preventitive care.

  • Nov 16, 10:34 a.m.

    "yeah, because all "employers" are rich people, right???"

    The ones making the biggest stink in the news about giving people decent lives are rich people. Hence the hypocrisy.
    Hence the anger. Hence your crickets.

  • piene2 Nov 16, 10:07 a.m.

    "The state should simply refuse to participate and ignore this terrible law.
    Dat MoFo"

    That would be a good idea that I can get behind. Than the federal government can step in and run things right. I know city governments have been ousted and the running of the city taken over by the state. One can not help but wonder if any state government has ever been ousted and run by the federal government.

  • lessismore Nov 16, 10:01 a.m.

    Small businesses will not expand beyond 49 employees. If they do they must pay insurance for all of them. Some businesses with 55-60-70-75 employees will lay many off to get below the 50 and be exempt from Obama Care mandate. Sad day for America. Ignorant politicians trying to help the poor...but in the end they hurt everyone. Health care fraud will be worse than medicare and medicaid. Health care costs will sky-rocket. The poor will pay nothing, the wealthy will foot the bill - as usual. Those on welfare will soon be living better than those paying the taxes to support them. I suppose that was Obama's plan all along.

  • dollibug Nov 16, 10:00 a.m.

    ****There is no choice. Some clowns that are incapable of understanding the Constitution ruled that ObamaCare is constitutional...

    Do you really think that because something is *constitutional* that everyone actually does what is right???????? What country do you live in??????? In this country....actually no one follows the US Constitutional Rights....Communication and training are 2 things which our country is *lacking a lot of*....and there are a lot of people who do not even understand it to begin with.....people do as they are taught...which is not necessarily right....

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